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March 17, 1995 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-17

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2 .L. Att.t.x...bii* TL..atL,_.

The Godfather of Funk
While James Brown gets all the credit, saxophonist Maco Parker
,deserves his props for inventing the classic '60s / '70s funk style. With
the JBs, James Brown, Beotsy Collins and George Clinton, Parker
recorded some of the best soul and funk of the past three decades. He'll
be performing at the Power Center tonight at 8 p.m.; tickets are $12.75
for students and $17.50 for others. Call 763-TKTS for more information.

Page 8
March 17. 199S

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'Cosi' passes comic opera test

y ... ,.

By Melissa Rose Bemardo
Daily Theater Editor


With an opera like "Cosi fan tutte,"
there is something called a laugh test. If
an audience is laughing--really laugh-
ing, right from the belly - then it has
succeeded. Using this test last night, the

Cosi fan tuffe
Lydia MViendelssohn Theatre
March 16, 1995
When: Tonight and Saturday at
8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $16, $12, $6
students at the League Ticket
Office. Call 764-0450.
School ofMusic'sproductionof"Cosi"
passed, and passed quite respectably.
Any respectable opera company can
passably sing Mozart's splendid score
(here nicely rendered by the University
Philharmonia and Donald Schleicher).
The true test is bringing across the
comedy, which Lorenzo da Ponte has
intricately woven into his libretto. Good
actors have no problem with that test,
but as arule, "good actors" and "opera"
rarely go hand in hand. This production
is no exception to that rule.
However, a good director can al-
most surely create a stellar comedic
"Cosi," and for that Linda Brovsky
deserves a loud "Brava!" Just look at

the plot she has to work around:
The old and cynical Don Alfonso
(William Gustafson) tells the two young
lovers, Ferrando (S. Piper Gomez) and
Guglielmo (Daniel Neer), that their
sweethearts, two beautiful sisters, can
never be faithful. The men are insulted
- nay, aghast - at Don Alfonso's
impudence, andinsistthattheir beloved
Dorabella (Jennifer Hilbish-Schuetz)
and Fiordiligi (Alberta Jean Reed), re-
spectively, are paragons of virtue and
So Don Alfonso makes a wager
with the men, who, being soldiers, are
prone to betting: He will prove the
ladies' infidelity, or he will pay them
100 crowns. The catch is, the men must
do whatever Don Alfonso tells them,
and must keepitsecret from the women.
The elaborate plan of deceit that
ensues involves two soldiers who are
sent off to war, two mysterious Alba-
nians who bear a striking resemblance
to thesoldiers, two supposedly grieving
sisters with a penchant for flirting, and
two really bad mustaches. Thus begins
the wooing game of the century.
The plot is even more contrived
than the most ridiculous Shakespearean
comedy. Such a tangled web of mis-
taken identities, trickery and duplicity
can become a nightmare for even the
most gifted director to sort out, yet
Brovsky's hand is clear and guided
from the start. Her inventive staging
provides the bulk of the humor and life

in this production. Funny manipula-
tions of posture, tricks with props and
creative ways with blocking prove im-
mense help in understanding and ap-
preciating the story (as opposed to the
late, illegible or altogether missing sub-
titles, which were no help whatsoever).
The singers don't accomplish
much along the lines of acting. The
ever-present exception is Rachel
Gottlieb'sportrayal of Despina, which
is animated, delightfully irreverent
and exceedingly well-sung.
There are some wonderful moments
from the lovers, most in the form of
Alberta Jean Reed as Fiordiligi. She
stopped the show with aria after aria-
most notably "Come Scoglio," her
character's violent assertion of eternal
devotion. Originally composed by
Mozart for Da Ponte's talented mis-
tress, the aria requires an ear-popping
range and gigantic skips. But Reed's
sumptuous soprano handled it with ease
and breathtaking power.
Jennifer Hilbish-Schuetz's
Dorabella was lovely, but nonetheless
overshadowed by her stronger sister.
though in his lower range he exhibited
a velvety tenor, he strained or forced his
highest notes. Daniel Neer proved a
pleasant surprise as Guglielmo; his rich
baritone seemed to grow in size and
quality as the show progressed.
The great disappointment of the
evening was William Gustafson's

"Cosa fan tutte" is an opera full of comic moments. Just look at that guy's mustache.

throwaway performance as the con-
niving Don Alfonso. The role is not a
vocal challenge; rather, it requires a
commanding actor, and Gustafson did
not fit the bill. He is the playwright,
the Prospero, the Mephistopheles, the
Figaro -and Gustafson downplayed

him in almost every sense.
All of this is refreshingly staged on
Alan Billings' airy, marble-and-glass,
ivory-and-black set. But where did
Marcia P. Newman get the sisters' cos-
tumes? Unflattering is the kindest way
to describe them; nauseating is the bet-

ter way. The wigs were just as un-
sightly, except for Despina's. (The
chamber maid gets the best wig?) 9
Brovsky's traditional setting -the
year 1790 - was the perfect comple-
ment for this cast and this set. And the
perfect complement for the comedy.

Award-winning Amazin' Blue is smooth as 'Butta'

By Sangita M. Bax
Daily Arts Writer
In 1987, the University of Michigan
was changed forever - it was in this
year that Mike Wang founded Amazin'
Blue, the first co-ed a cappella group
on campus. Since then, the group has
been growing and winning the hearts of
many. Their album, "Co-ed Naked a
cappella" won album of the year when
it was released. Recently, their newest
album, "Amazin' BlueisaLittleCrazy"
was runner-up for the Best Co-ed a
cappella album in the Contemporary A
cappellaRecording Awards (C.A.R.A.)
sponsored by the Contemporary A
cappella Society of America
(C.A.S.A.), as well as Best Arrange-
ment for their rendition of "Kyrie."
"Amazin' Blue is a Little Crazy"
is truly an incredible album. Whether
it's "Crazy" or "Africa" or the "Brady
Bunch Medley," the group sounds
wonderful. The sound is unbeliev-
able: The way instruments are ac-
counted for by back-up vocals and the
way each member of the group sup-

ports the others in preserving the music
are evident by listening to the harmo-
nies Amazin' Blue can put together.
Because the voice is the only'instru-
When: Tomorrow at 8 p.m.
Where: Rackham Auditorium
Tickets: $O In advance
Tickets are available at the
Michigan Union Ticket Office.
The Beelzebubs, an all-male a
capella group from Tufts
University opens the show.
Amazin' Blue is a Little Crazy"
will be available at the show,.
ment used, the voices are everywhere
and compel one to listen to each dis-
tinctive part, but at the same time, to
concentrate on the unique combina-
tion of all the parts.
There is a variety of arrangements,

all done by group members. From
Annie Lennox to George Michael to
Paul Simon to Sting, each piece is
arranged so that none of the associa-
tions with the original arrangement
are lost, yet at the same time, another
dimension is added because of the
change to a cappella.
The album demonstrates that vo-
cally, Amazin' Blue is very much a
team and that they work very well
together, as well as having a great
sense of humor. "I think the thins
that's really cool about this group is
that every person has a very key role
in success and development because
we're small," said Sheetal Bhagat, a
member of the group. "We're a small
group, but everybody's participation
and commitment is necessary for the
growth of the group. And, that's
what's really good - we talk with
each other a lot."
It seems to be paying off because
Amazin' Blue has been successful.
Not only have they won national
See BLUE, page 10

Does waiting in line bug you? : = -.1

The secret history of St. Patrick's Day

We have all the services
to get you in and out FASTI
" Automated machines that
collate and staple
" Report binding while you wait
SCanon Color Copies in minutes
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k ~

l 990>
" report" ng
binding /

By Karl Jones
Daily Arts Writer
It's that time of year again, lads and
lassies. Good old St. Patrick's Day ... a
time to reflect on your Irish heritage,
wear green and dance a little jig for the
one you love. All right, who am I kid-
ding? St. Patrick's Day is a glorified
excuse for drinking massive amounts
of Guinness and passing out in a gutter
somewhere. We all know it.
But ... was it always this way?
The other day, I began to wonder if, in
our drunken stupors, we were miss-
ing a beautiful message of hope and
wisdom behind the holiday. At this

point, a golden beam of light fell
down upon me, and I decided I had a
mission. I was going to find the true
meaning of St. Patrick's Day ... as
soon as I finished my beer.
Stop one: Memory lane. I thought
maybe I had received some sort of
forgotten wisdom on the holiday while
I was growing up. You might not
realize it with a last name like Jones,
but my dad was one hell of an Irish
American. For every one of my child-
hood St. Patrick's Days, he would
pull out a bottle of green face paint
that he had "since he was a wee lad"
and paint shamrocks on my and my

Ship UPS with us.

fun.. .excitement...entertainment

brother's cheeks.
We felt really proud of our Irish
heritage ... until about halfway
through the day when the 30-year-ol
paint started to crack and itch and turn
yellow. It never occurred to us to buy
new paint. We were a bunch of stub-
born Irish folk with flaming skin dis-
orders because we would not give up
our ancient traditions.
Is there an important lesson to be
learned here? Absolutely not.
Well, O.K., they say if you don't
learn something at home, you'll picks
it up on the street. You know, sex
education, how to hotwire a car in 30
seconds flat, the meaning of St.
Patrick's Day, that kind of thing.
With this knowledge in mind, I
immediately went out into the world
in search of some Lrish friends to
confer with. At this point, I realized
that there are two types of Irish people.
The first type has at least one close.
relative who once lived in Ireland.
The second type has a great-great-
great grandmother whose ex-
husband's newspaper delivery boy
lived in Ireland for a week. For the
greater part of the year, these people
are Italian or Swedish, but on St.
Patrick's Day, they suddenly begin to
leap around like a bunch of drunken
I decided to bypass the Irish pos-0
ers and go straight to the source of St.
Patrick's Day wisdom: My friend
Molly O'Callaghan. I was beginning
to get a little flustered with my mis-
sion by this time. I wanted to know

The party before the party....


v mmaloow A a 4UO

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